November 25, 2017

Mont St Michel – Touristy but Necessary

There are certain cities and sights that are touristy but still necessary to visit.  One of these is Mont St. Michel.

Located along the English Channel in the Normandy region of France, this Romanesque masterpiece is a sight to see.  Driving towards it, you start getting a glimmer of something in the distance and wonder “Is that it?”.  With each mile you drive the abbey seems to grow right before your eyes until you are face to face with one of the most amazing sights.Mont St Michel France from a distance

Built into the rock the Mont started out as a fortification defending the coast from invaders before becoming a monastery in 708 AD.  This beauty has been around a very long time and has seen its fair share of history from the Norman Conquest, Hundred Years War, French Revolution and World War II.Magnificent Mont St Michel France

At one point, the monks had moved away so the government turned Mont St Michel into a prison for its political prisoners.  Around 1836 there were calls to restore the mount to its glory.  It was during 1874 that it was declared a historic monument and in 1979 Mont St Michel was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Yes Mont St Michel can be very touristy but passing along the cobblestoned path, passing the shops as you wind your way up the more than 900 steps to the abbey is worth it! The architecture is stunning and dramatic while the views are amazing from all angles.

 

What other touristy spots are “must sees”?


These photo’s are shared as part of Travel Photo Thursday.
For more great pictures, make sure to look into Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Maybe I’ll see you there.


Unique Lodging Is It For You?

Lodging comes in all sizes and shapes.  When traveling, there are a lot of options available in the European lodging market.  We can camp, stay in a trailer, hotel or a bed and breakfast.  These categories can even be broken down further from ranging hostel to 5 star lodging.

But if a standard room or suite just won’t do, what are your options?  Rest assured,

The choices in the unique category include yurts, jumbo jets, lighthouses, castles, tepees, chateaux, tree houses or even a jail!

But that’s not all, here are 5 very special and unique types of lodging in Europe that may answer your dreams or inspire a trip.

La Balade des Gnomes, Belgium

Trojan Horse Suite at La Balade des Gnomes in Belgium

Trojan Horse Suite from La Balade des Gnomes

Set in a very quiet setting and offering 10 different and unique rooms, La Balade des Gnomes may fill all of your fanciful dreams.  You may opt to sleep in a moon buggy, Troll forest which includes a gold fish infested stream, a boat that is floating in a swimming pool or wine cellar.  Inspired by fairy tales, all of the rooms are decorated in a style that uses motifs and colors from around the world. But what caught my eye was a very unique offering known as the Trojan Horse suite.

Fort Clonque, United Kingdom

For Clonque United Kingdom Unique European Lodging

Fort Clonque by FlickrDelusions, on Flickr

Owned by the Landmark Trust, Fort Clonque is a unique lodging set on an island in the middle of the English Channel where the views are spectacular and storms are something to experience!  The rooms are in a 19th century fortification that has seen more than its share of history.  The fort is reached via a causeway and once you cross the drawbridge entrance you feel as if you have crossed into another time.  Spread throughout the fort, your room may be in an old war room or the German Casement, which was a Nazi gun turret!

Cappadocia Cave Resort, Turkey

One of the more stunning lodging options is the Cappadocia Cave Resort.  Set in one of the most beautiful settings, this hotel not only offers unique lodging but the opportunity to explore a region that is teeming with UNESCO World Heritage sites.  Built into the side of the mountain, the rooms combine actual cave walls with lovely warm wood and other natural stone creating a breathtaking view inside and out.

Utter Inn, Sweden

Utter Inn Sweden and Underwater hotel

Before being set on the lake

The Utter Inn is an underwater hotel located in Lake Mälaren near Stockholm, Sweden.  At first glance, the hotel seems to be another typical Swedish red house on a diving platform floating in the lake but looks are so deceiving!  Once in the house, open the hatch and descend the metal steps to enter your room. There awaits glorious windows offering underwater viewing on all sides!

Sala Silvermine Suite, Sweden

The bedroom of Sala Silvermine Suite in Sweden

The bedroom of Sala Silvermine Suite by Pappilabild

Sala Silvermine Suite Sweden

Sala Silvermine Suite by Pappilabild

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sala Silvermine offers an underground suite that is accessed by going down the mine shaft.  Upon arrival you will be escorted down the mine shaft and given a tour of the festivity hall and the other nooks and crannies existing on the same level, which by the way is 500 feet below ground! Once in the mine, you will find your room glowing from the chandelier and candles used to illuminate your bed chamber.

Would you stay in an alternative type hotel?

Moravia: Exploring the Czech Republic

In recent years, the Czech Republic has become a major tourist destination and rightly so!  Prague has become the number one stop for tourists to the republic but should you stop there?  That answer is No, there are many other areas to discover of equal interest.

One of these regions is Moravia.

Located in the eastern part of the country, Moravia is known as the quieter and more “real” Czech Republic.  The region is full of quaint villages, lush green vineyards, history, outdoor activities and has held on to its traditions.

Brno Cathedral of Saint Peter and Paul Moravia Czech Republic

Brno Cathedral of Saint Peter and Paul by Millenium187

Below are 5 reasons to include Moravia in your itinerary of the Czech Republic:

  • Castles & Chateaux

There are more than 2,000 Castles and Chateaux in the Czech Republic and Moravia has more than its fair share.  Among these are medieval Helfstyn Castle with its imposing walls and setting above the Becva river; gothic Buchlov Castle; lavish baroque Kromeriz Castle was built in 17th century and includes must see gardens ;  Slavkov Chateau was the site of a famous victory for Napoleon at Austerlitz; and gothic Lednice Chateau whose grounds include an English style park and a Temple of Apollo.

Lednice Chateau Moravia Czech Republic

Lednice Chateau by Zp

Kromeriz Castle and Gardens Moravia Czech Republic

Kromeriz Castle and Gardens courtesy of Czech Republic Tourist Bureau

  • Wine

Wine is up and coming in the Czech Republic and Moravia produces the vast majority of it.  Most notably known for its dry white wines the reds are coming up.  There are many wine festivals held during the harvest time with the largest held in Znojmo, Mikulov, Brno and Melnik.  Twelfth century Valtice Castle houses the Czech Republic’s National Wine Center where you can enjoy tasting some of the best wines produced in the country.

Valtice Castle Moravia Czech Republic

Valtice Castle courtesy of Czech Republic

 

  • Towns & Villages

The towns and villages of Moravia include thousand years of history and were once the stomping grounds of the Liechtenstein’s.  Visiting the towns and villages of Moravia will help you understand the long and varied history of the region.  One of the most ancient towns is Znojmo where you can see wall paintings in the Romanesque Chapel of St. Catherine.  Telc is known as one of the most beautiful towns in the Czech Republic and is listed on UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  Olomouc has long been a cultural center and is full of cobblestoned streets, stately cathedrals and grand palaces.  Mikulov offers history, architectural wonders and nature.

Telc Moravia Czech Republic

Telc courtesy of Czech Republic Tourist Bureau

 

  • Tradition

The diverse folk customs can still be found in Moravia, in fact, they have seemed to flourish.  During travels, visitors will come across people in tradition clothing as well as many folk festivals including Easter, music, Gypsy Song and Kings Ride festivals.

Moravian Costumes Czech Republic

Moravian Costumes Czech Republic by Jialiang Gao

 

  • Outdoor Activities

Moravia is full of beautiful and varied natural wonders.  These include many trails for bikers or hikers, parks, gardens, lakes, rivers as well as caves and chasms. The Litovel Morava Natural Park is best explored by bike as its trails are smooth and wide.  In the Jesenik Mountains adventurers will find waterfalls and the eerie Hill of Crosses.  Those wanting to explore the underworld, sights include Javoricko caves and Karst caverns.

Moravian Karst Czech Republic

Moravian Karst courtesy of Czech Republic Tourist Bureau

 

Yes, there are a lot of reasons to visit Moravia! Whether you want history, architecture, wine, nature or castles and chateaux you will find it here.  The one thing you won’t find are the crowds of PragueLife is a little slower in Moravia.

 

Would you visit Moravia while in the Czech Republic?

Bamberg Germany and Little Venice

It’s Travel Photo Thursday again and today I’m sharing a few pictures of a beautiful town in Germany – Bamberg.

Located in northern Bavaria, Bamberg is known as a charming town that if full of picturesque views at almost every turn.   Even though I don’t think Bamberg is visited by many Americans touring Germany, I wonder how many people recognize it by it’s city hall which is located in the middle of the river!!Bamberg Town Hall Bavaria Germany

To say this Unesco World Heritage city is gorgeous would be an understatement.  Situated along the Regnitz River and the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, this Beer City has many reasons to visit.

It’s not hard to find amazing views along the river but one of the more splendid areas is known as Klein Venedig or Little Venice.Little Venice Bamberg Bavaria Germany

Little Venice is a row of fishermen houses dating from the 19th century.  I’m not sure where the comparison to Venice comes from but it is striking.  Do you see a resemblance to Venice?
Little Venice Bamberg Bavaria Germany

The Regnitz river is a grand frame to these small half-timbered houses which are indeed very picturesque.

Maybe including gondola reminds us of  Venice! 

Gondola along Canal Bamberg Bavaria Germany

 

 

 

 

These photo’s are shared as part of Travel Photo Thursday.  For more great pictures, make sure to look into Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Maybe I’ll see you there.

A Beautiful Resting Place in Salzburg

As I stated in A Merry Cemetery in Romania, I find cemeteries fascinating.  I don’t have an obsession with death, I just find that cemeteries not only offer a unique view of a cities history but can also offer a very peaceful and beautiful haven amongst even the largest cities.St Peters Cemetery with fortress Salzburg Austria

While I was in Salzburg, I was lucky enough to spend time in St. Peter’s Cemetery and I found a beautiful and peaceful final resting place for many of Salzburg’s historic families of the past.

Nestled up against the Mönchsberg you will find St. Peter’s Cemetery.  Dating back to 1627 this is the oldest Christian cemetery in Salzburg and should not be neglected during your stay in this wonderful city.St Peters Cemetery Salzburg Austria

This cemetery is not sad or scary but would be a lovely place to spend eternity. . . or some time during an afternoon!  As you wander through you will be amazed at the beauty, the color and the serenity.  Each of the plots is still tenderly taken care of by family members.St Peters Cemetery with fortress and catacombs Salzburg Austria

This World Heritage Site is enclosed by beautiful wrought-iron on three sides and the Mönchsberg on the fourth making it a perfect home for the aristocratic families of Salzburg.  Among the families interred are Mozart’s sister, Nannerl, Joseph Haydn’s brother, Michael, and the architect of the cathedral, Santino Solari.

There are rumors that St. Peter’s Cemetery was the filming sight of the scene where the Von Trapp family hid behind the tombstones during their escape in the Sound of Music.  In actuality the scene was filmed in Hollywood but the cemetery was used as inspiration for the set.St Peters Cemetery 2 Salzburg Austria

Another interest tidbit is that the plots in the cemetery are rented which means if your relatives stop paying the rent your remains are moved to a nearby ossuary! There’s a reason to be nice to your relatives.View from Catacombs above St Peter's Cemetery Salzburg Austria

After enjoying St. Peter’s Cemetery make sure you take the stairs back in time to the Catacombs. Carved into the rock above St. Peter’s Cemetery the catacombs are worth a visit, if only for the views of Salzburg!  Be careful as you climb the very steep stairs on your way to exploring the rooms containing altars and frescoes from yesterday.  As you gaze out the windows, you will be amazed at the beautiful site unfolding before your eyes.

 

What cemeteries have you enjoyed while traveling?

Salzburg’s Altstadt-Music and History

Salzburg Austria is probably best known for music.  It is the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and you can find music everywhere from street performers, parks, churches, opera houses, at one of the many festivals held throughout the year or on the Sound of Music tour!

This is a short video of some street performers I ran into within the first few hours of arriving in Salzburg.  Looking at YouTube, it seems this quartet has been around awhile!

What I found recently was a city that is also a visual display of its history.

Salzburg is a city of approximately 150,000 people that is divided by the Salzach River and bordered on the other side by a small mountain rising sharply from the city, the Monchberg.

Old Town Salzburg across Salzach river Austria

Old Town Salzburg by Jiuguang Wang

The Altstadt is the core of the city. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, the Altstadt has an enchanting feel to it with all the alluring old houses, charming platz’s complete with fountains celebrating Salzburg’s heroes, churches, cafes and tempting shops.Fountain Salzburg Austria

This part of Salzburg is a walker’s delight.  Car free, it is easy and fun getting lost just by wandering the streets.  You will always find yourself in familiar territory very shortly and you never know what discovery you will make at each turn.  Hidden alleyways or great local markets are just some of the gems you may run into!Wandering the streets of Salburg Austria

Mixed in among the narrow streets and grand platz’s are sites not to be missed including St. Peter’s Abbey and Cemetery, Salzburg Cathedral, the Residenze and Mozart’s birthplace.Salzburg Cathedral Interior Austria

The Salzburg Cathedral is considered to be one of the finest Baroque buildings north of the Alps.  There has been a cathedral on this spot since the 8th century.  As you walk into the cathedral you will notice 3 dates above the doors notating the date of major renovations to the cathedral.  Also as you enter, you will notice 4 statues depicting 2 apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul, and the 2 patron saints of the cathedral, St. Rupert and St. Virgil.  Mozart was baptized in this cathedral.  He was also the organist and many of his compositions were played for the first time in Salzburg cathedral.St. Peter statue at Salzburg Cathedral Austria

The Residenze and its famous horse fountain were built between 1600 and 1619 and was the home of the prince-archbishops.  A tour through the State rooms and Imperial Halls offer views into life at this time – at least if you were a prince bishop that is!  Mozart was invited to play for the bishops guests many times in the Residenze.

The Altstadt of Salzburg is a wonderful mélange showcasing the history of this town that was so important to the region in years past.  Besides touring the sights make sure to leave time relishing the ambiance at one of the many cafes or brew pubs!Cake and Coffee Salzburg Austria

 

What is your favorite thing to do in Salzburg’s altstadt?

The 6 EST’s of Europe

What is the largest, longest or biggest in Europe?  Come on a journey with us to find out the best-EST and most-EST that Europe has to offer.

Largest Castle – Prague Castle

In fact, Prague Castle is the largest castle in the world and not just Europe.  Dating back to 870, the castle is home to the Bohemian crown jewels, the National Gallery, Toy Museum, Czech history museum and a gallery displaying the history of the castle.  Over the years, the castle has been remodeled and, therefore, you will find representations of every architectural style including Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral and Romanesque Basilica of St. George.  No visit to Prague is complete without taking a tour of the castle or spending time in one of its many museums.

Prague Castle Czech Republic

Prague Castle by Adam Zivner

Tallest Mountain – Mount Elbrus

At 18,510 feet this inactive volcano stands above the rest in this part of the Urals.  Located near the Georgian border, Mt Elbrus’ permanent ice cap feeds 22 glaciers which in turn feed into the Baksan, Kuban and Malka rivers.  Legend has it, this is the place where Zeus had Prometheus chained to a rock!  This mountaineering area will be hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Mt Elbrus and the Caucasus Mountains

Mt Elbrus by Jialiang Gao

Largest City – Moscow, Russia

The capital of Russia was first mentioned in 1147 and is the most northern city to have a population of over 10 million people.  Sitting along the banks of the Moskva River, Moscow has seen the history of Russia play out before its very eyes.  To say that Russia’s history has been stormy is an understatement but Moscow has been the capital through the Grand Duchy of Moscow, Tsardom of Russia, Soviet Union and today’s Russia.  With the fall of the Iron Curtain Moscow has become quite a tourist destination and no one does not recognize the famous architectural style, the Onion Dome.  Sites to be seen include 2 UNESCO World Heritage sites, Red Square and the Kremlin, a zoo, museums, art galleries, 96 parks, 18 gardens and the world famous ballet.  One of Moscow’s newest claim to fame is it has the most billionaires (79) than anywhere else beating out NYC!

Red Square Moscow Russia

Red Square Moscow by Christophe Meneboeuf

Northernest City – Hammerfest & Honningsvag, Norway

Seems there is a little disagreement on what constitutes a city which is why there are 2 claimants to the most northern city in Europe.  Norwegian law says that to be a city there needs to be a population of at least 5,000 people.  Hammerfest is south of Honningsvag but Hammerfest is the only one that meets the city population requirements.  Both cities are important fishing and hunting areas with histories dating to prehistoric time.  Strange as it may seem for the most northern city, but the ocean off Honningsvag is ice free!  Hammerfest has a huge migration of reindeer during the summer.

Hammerfest Norway

Hammerfest Norway by Clemensfranz

Honningsvåg Norway

Honningsvåg Norway by Luca Boldrini

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Longest River – Volga

Ending in the Caspian Sea, this 2,194 mile long river skirts its way through Central Russia after its humble beginning in the Valdai Hills about 200 miles south east of St. Petersburg.  Even though the Volga freezes for most of its length for 3 months of the year, it has played a very important role in the movement of people from Asia to Europe during decades past.  The Volga estuary, the largest in Europe, is the center of the caviar industry and home to many species of animals including pelicans, flamingos, lotuses and beaver.  The river has also endured many wars, much strife by its people, pollution and the destruction of towns to make way for dams.  As with other great rivers of the world, if only they could talk the stories we would hear!

Volga River Russia

Volga River by Evgeny Pavlov

Oldest Amusement Park – Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens is in the center of Copenhagen, Denmark and was opened on August 15, 1843.  At this time it was actually outside the city limits but as the city grew the park became one of its central points and is right next to Copenhagen’s central station.  Legend says that Walt Disney decided to build Disneyland after visiting Tivoli.  The park is best known for its wooden roller coast, which was built in 1914, but today has many other modern roller coasters containing loop-to-loops and zero-G’s.  Inside this beautiful park there are performing art theaters, including one dedicated to Pantomime, concert areas, parades and gardens.  The park is spectacular at night where it sparkles under the many lights.

Tivoli Gardens Copenhagen Denmark

Tivoli Gardens by Tbmurray

 

These are few of the -ests of Europe.  I’m sure there are many more.

What other -ests or do you know?

Free in Salzburg means . . .

As I mentioned last week in my 30 Days and Counting post, I will be visiting Salzburg Austria late August.  In preparation for my visit I have been digging into all the things there are to do in Salzburg and found some pretty amazing things that are actually FREE!

Here are 6 things I plan on doing in Salzburg that are Free:

  1. Siemens Festival Nights
    During August Salzburg celebrates its art and musical culture with the world by hosting the Salzburg Summer Festival.  In an effort to make this accessible to more people, Siemens Austria presents the highlights from past and current festivals on big screens in the Kapitelplatz.  Concerts begin at 6 pm and the Operas begin at 8 pm.
  2. Explore the Altstadt
    This Medieval and Baroque treasure has been declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.  At the center of the Altstadt is the Cathedral which is surrounded by 3 beautiful squares – Domplatz, Kapitelplatz and Residensplatz.  The skyline is dotted with spires and domes from all the churches and the narrow lanes are full of fountains, arches and impressive buildings. 

    Salzburg Altstadt

    Salzburg Altstadt By Thomas Pintaric

  3. Hike up Monchsberg
    A hike up the Monchsberg is a great way to escape the crowds below.  Once at the top there are wooded paths that allow for spectacular views of Salzburg and the surroundings below.  One path leads to the Nonnberg Convent which is famous for being Maria von Trapp’s home for a bit!  Or you might need a refreshment at the Stadt Alm (not free though).  If you prefer, you could take the elevator up (for a small fee) and walk down.
  4. Schloss Mirabell & Gardens
    The gardens were designed in 1730 and have been open to the public since 1850.  Sound of Music fans will recognize the gardens as the site where Do Re Mi was sung!  Fans will enjoy the arbor and statues but the gardens offer great views of the city including the cathedral and castle.  The Schloss is only open to musical events but if you’re lucky you may run into a band playing a free concert in the park.
  5. Red Bull Hangar- 7
    Even if you are not a plane, race car, motorcycle or helicopter fan, this museum looks way to cool to pass up!  Designed in a very unique architectural style, the designers wanted to create a place where art, planes and technology could reside together and it seems they have succeeded.  There are bars, restaurants and cafes to add to your enjoyment. 

    Red Bull Hanger 7 Salzburg Austria

    From wikimedia Red Bull Hangar-7 GmbH

  6. St. Peters Cemetery & Church
    Salzburg’s oldest Christian cemetery dates back to 1627 and butts up against Monchberg’s rock wall.  Surrounded on 3 sides by wrought iron, this is the cemetery of Salzburg’s oldest families.  Buried here are Mozart’s sister, Haydn’s brother (most of him anyway) and other dignitaries.  St. Peters cemetery was also used as inspiration for the cemetery the von Trapp’s hid out in.  Don’t miss the St. Peters Church once you have finished at the cemetery.  This is the church that premiered Mozart’s Mass in C Minor.  Although originally designed in the Romanesque style, you will enjoy feasting your eyes on the beautiful Baroque and Rococo additions.

What to do with all the money I saved by visiting these free sights?


Yup you guessed it, enjoy reminiscing about my day over a nice beer!

I think Augustiner Bräustübl will do quite nicely.   The Augustiner Bräustübl is a do-it-yourself kind of establishment that has been around since 1890.  There is a process to follow if you don’t want to look like a tourist – egads!  Pay for your beer, pick up a stein, wash it and proceed to the beer line where your beer will be poured straight from the barrel.  Join other Austrians by taking any open seat in the beer garden.  That is, after asking “Ist frei?”, of course.

Can you recommend any other “Free” things to do in Salzburg?

Other beer halls, breweries or gardens I shouldn’t miss?

Viva La France-Back to Burgundy!

As we saw in my post Burgundy France – Land of Plenty, there are a lot of reasons to visit Burgundy and one of them is definitely the quaint, captivating, enchanting, picturesque, and charming villages that dot the countryside of this region southeast of Paris, France.

Here are 7 that fit the endearing, remarkable, wonderful and special category.

Semur-en-Auxois

Semur-en-Auxois Burgundy France

Semur-en-Auxois

Artists flock here to gather inspiration from this medieval jewel. This village is full of grand houses, narrow and cobbled streets, cafes and shops. Wander through the medieval gateway on your way to visit Chocolatier Bruno Coeur who was part of the movie Chocolat. No visit is complete without a visit to the gothic church, fortified castle or crossing one of the bridges spanning the Armancon River. A stroll along the ramparts offers amazing vistas!

Bligny-sur-Ouche

If you enjoy old villages,  this is the one for you. Dating back to prehistory (the first mention was in 800’s) Bligny holds a marvelous 12th century church and many vestiges of yesterday – a sundial, wood gutters, crucifixes, washing wells and water mills. Enjoy a ride on a steam engine or visit the Hemp and Woodworking museums.

Chateauneuf-en-Auxois

Overlooking the Canal du Bourgogne is the fortified village known locally as just Chateauneuf. This is one of those medieval villages that will transport you back to the Middle Ages upon arriving! Besides the normal narrow streets and alleyways, shops, restaurants and arts and crafts, this village has a magical castle at its center. After visiting the 12th century Chateau de Chateauneuf-en-Auxois that is when it is time to wander the medieval streets before stopping to enjoy the atmosphere of this beautiful village.

Chateauneuf-en-Auxois Burgundy France

Chateauneuf-en-Auxois Panorama by Christophe.Finot

Flavigny-sur-Ozerain

Built on top of a hill, the village people work hard to preserve the history found in Favigny. Another village with ties to the movie

Flavigny-sur-Ozerain castle Burgundy France

Flavigny-sur-Ozerain Castle by Christophe.Finot

Chocolat, this medieval marvel is surrounded by 3 streams and has many alleys and walkways that lead past interesting architecture at every turn. Make sure to visit the Benedictine Monastery with its Carolingian crypt and the local confection, Anise of Flavigny. If you are lucky you may experience some Gregorian chants!

Vezelay

Sitting high atop a hill, this town has an enchanting feel to it. This pilgrimage city offers strollers a chance to explore the alleyways and courtyards while gazing at the preserved 15th, 16th and 17th century houses. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is also home to one of the most beloved churches in France; the Romanesque Basilica of St. Mary Magdalene. Its relics

still draw many visitors today. In 1190, Vezelay is also the place where King Phillip Auguste of France met up with Richard the Lionheart of England before departing for the 3rd crusade.

Martailly-les-Brancion

Everything here is medieval! This village has truly preserved its history and it is waiting for you to explore. It all starts with the amazing views as you drive up the steep road leading first to the castle. Dating back to the 10th century this castle still has preserved walls and turrets. Continuing into the village, you will find a 12th century Romanesque Church, 14th century covered market and many medieval houses to marvel at.

Martailly-les-Brancion Burgundy France

Martailly-les-Brancion by D Villafruela

Noyers-sur-Serein

One of the more picturesque villages in the region, Noyers’ has a very well preserved medieval center dating back to the 15th century. Inside the town walls, you will find 78 monuments that have been classified as historic which include the remains of a castle, church, town hall and a 19th century public washing area. Wandering the cobbled streets you will find beautiful half-timbered houses, medieval squares and arches. There is also a very nice river walk outside the walls.

Noyer-sur-Serein Burgundy France

Noyer-sur-Serein by Palamède

There are many other gorgeous villages that could have made this list,

What did I leave off?

Cesky Krumlov – I Want to Go There!

Have you ever seen a picture and said to yourself  “I have to go there!”?  I have and Cesky Krumlov is one of those places.

Cesky Krumlov View Czech Republic

Cesky Krumlov View by Marjolein Knuit

Surrounded by rolling hills and the Vltava River, Cesky Krumlov’s cobblestone streets wind past centuries old townhomes, inns, shops, and cafes.  The fact that this charming city has kept its medieval character is one of the reasons it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Cesky Krumlov Czech Republic

Cesky Krumlov by 風Mark, on Flickr

But is Cesky Krumlov more than just a pretty picture?

Here are ten things to do in Cesky Krumlov that might entice you to visit, if a pretty face isn’t enough.

  1. Beer!  You knew this was coming, right?  The Czech Republic is known for its beer and Cesky Krumlov is no exception.  With a brewing history dating back to the 1300’s you can find good beer here and even a brewery.  The Eggenberg Brewery is the beer making center of Cesky Krumlov and also offers tours, tastings and more!
  2. The Vltava River winds its way through Cesky Krumlov and offers many opportunities for enjoyment.  You could enjoy a tour on the river floating on a wooden raft while experiencing a unique perspective of the city. Other options include aimlessly floating around on an inner tube or being more adventurous by canoeing down the river.  It doesn’t matter which way you spend time on the river, it’s just important that you do!

    Cesky Krumlov Czech Republic

    Vltava River by rakugo, on Flickr

  3. Enjoy a Myth and Legend night tour of the city.  Discover some of the myths, legends and mysteries that haunt Cesky Krumlov.  Listen as you pass the castle tower and you will hear its story.  Visit sites where witches were burned and alchemists lived.
  4. St. Vitus Church is a Gothic beauty that dates to the 15th century.  Sitting on a knoll created by the river, it is one of the main features of the city.  Maybe you can even catch a concert of classical music or climb the tower for one of the best views of the city!

    St. Vitus Church Cesky Krumlov Czech Republic

    St. Vitus Church by Totya

  5. The Torture Museum is situated in the cellars of the town hall.  This museum displays devices of torture, wax figures and unique depictions of a witch burning and execution by sword.  Interesting but maybe not for everyone. . .
  6. The Graphite Mine is located a little outside town but is a fun excursion.  Dressed as miners including miner’s lamp, you travel into the mine to learn all there is to know about this mine which has been in existence since the 18th century.
  7. Krumlov Castle is the 2nd largest castle in the Czech Republic.  This castle has everything an upstanding castle should have – towers, theaters, gardens, Renaissance balcony, Chapel, portraits, Royal apartments and a moat!  Enjoy one or all of the tours offered of this amazing dramatic series of structures overlooking the town.

    Cesky Krumlov Castle Czech Republic

    Cesky Krumlov Castle by Docsj

  8. Marionette, Wax and Regional Museums along with the  Fairy Tale House offer all those young at heart a chance to learn a bit about the different personalities of Bohemia, enjoy historical marionettes and puppets as well as learn more about the history that has made Cesky Krumlov so wonderful.
  9. Hike up to Mount Klet for outstanding views of the city and countryside from the highest point in this part of Bohemia.  Your hike begins at the rail station climbing up to the lookout tower where you will find a restaurant and observatory full of telescopes.
  10. Walk around Cesky Krumlov’s many hills, squares and alleyways which beckon you to discover the charm of the city.  Along the way you will explore the hidden nooks discovering its treasures.  This is where you will  experience the real Cesky Krumlov.

 

Is Cesky Krumlov just a pretty face?

Tell me about a picture that beacons you?